24 March 2019

Ballet Baby

Spring break continued this week through Monday. Bahama Bucks ran a special that was hard to pass up...so we went. The kids chose their flavors and quite enjoyed their treat. I had to talk Phillip out of ordering pickle juice and root beer. Blech. I had piano lessons in the afternoon like usual. We had cousins over plus Ronald and Chloe. It was quite the full house. The boys made a base out in the yard with chairs, snacks, drinks, and weapons. They played hard. I made a menu (finally) listing dinner for the week. The kids seem to love it, like a lot! Such a simple thing.

Josie started ballet lessons at our local community center. She was thrilled to don a tutu, leotard, and slippers. Her class studies ballet and tap. I think she is by far the youngest one in her class. Josie was not thrilled I left but she stemmed her tears and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She talks non-stop now about her ballet! The boys started karate classes on Friday, we were late so no photos this week. Josie was upset the boys had class in the same room she had ballet, could not understand why she could not stay to dance. Both boys were thrilled to learn the first 4 positions of self-defense. They got a kick that one position is Roku, the same name as our TV box. After ballet we headed to the park for a couple hours. Josie had a monopoly on the swing. I showed her how to do airplane on her belly. She only left the swings for a couple forays to the climbing area and slide while another kid took a turn on the swing. Gabi amused herself tasting all the wood chips she snuck by my notice.

Gabi is on the move! She is crawling and pulling herself up to stand. I had her nap on Evelyn's bed, put her towards the wall, she rolled the entire length still staying swaddled up! I had visions of her rolling off so I watched her sleep for an hour. Guess we now need a pack and play or use the floor. We love her funny patch of long hair, she looks like a cute troll.

Wednesday was quite a warm day so I filled the wading pool for the kids to enjoy after school. It's not warm enough to fill the big pool yet, I imagine within a month it will be! I enjoyed sewing two pinafore dresses for the little girl's Easter dresses. My serger is not functioning correctly, I've had it serviced twice since we moved here. I about chucked it out the window. I don't sew enough to earn a new one...but gah! It's annoying to have one that does not work properly. Laura Webster came over for help sewing up summer rompers for her daughter. We also headed to Walmart vision center for new glasses for Mia. Her lenses are scratched beyond repair after a year of use. Our insurance only covers new frames every two years, how?! So annoying. Phillip just broke his glasses just a bit ago. Those lasted a good 6 months. The kids looked quite silly trying on all the glasses.

Saturday Mia hosted American Girl book club. The girls read a Samantha book this month. They enjoyed making tissue paper flowers and going on a scavenger hunt. Only two other girls were able to come this month. Boo. Still we got the house cleaned up. Justin took the rest of the kids out to the park to play and ride bikes for an hour. I took Amelia and Evelyn to the crazy SAS Fabric store. I wanted to find a coordinating fabric to make an Easter dress for Mia. Somehow I pulled a magical length of knit from a towering pile of knits, it matched perfectly! Now I cannot wait to sew up all the knit twirl dresses I can. Since we were out the girls also got much needed hair trims. Much better. Towards bedtime I finally got word about a twin bed I inquired on to purchase used. Amelia went with me to pick up the bed. We have plans to switch Josie and Amelia in preparation for next school year.

I had an interesting doctor appointment with Wendy Nielsen from our ward. I want to switch clinics from the one I use now to something cheaper. Wendy specializes in natural hormone therapy and other treatments. She listened carefully to what I had to say! Seems like she will be able to help me out at a fraction of the cost. Phew. She even suggested I get my heart tested out since my history of fainting could be quite detrimental to my heart. Josie had to bring her pink pool floatie along to the appointment. She pretended to be a baby bird for the hour long visit.

Spring Break, Lances Visit, St Patrick's Day

We had such an amazing Spring Break with cousins visiting from Utah. The Lances drove in late Saturday night after a full day of driving and touring Montezuma's Well. James came down to help with the long drive. I hear snow made the drive down quite white-knuckled. We are happy they arrived safe and sound. The kids waited outside for hours until they finally arrived. Justin took the entire week off to enjoy at home vacation.

James flew back to Utah Sunday afternoon, they wanted to check out Tonto ruins as a family before he left, we only saw James for an hour on Saturday! The weather was cold and rainy for the first part of the week. Nebraska endured a terrible blizzard with 6 foot drifts and white out conditions. The weather pattern looked like a hurricane over land with the eye centered in Denver, Sidney got hit HARD. We got the tails of that bad storm down in Arizona! Not exactly the best way to celebrate Spring Break. Having cousins here made it all better. The kids enjoyed a day watching TV, playing games, and snacking. I taught 3 piano lessons toward the end of that afternoon.

Evelyn lost her first tooth, meaning she lost her first tooth naturally. She started screaming upstairs because she found blood on her tooth brush. I tackled her to the floor and quite literally did nothing to get that little tooth out. It fell out onto the tissue! She was quite surprised it did not hurt at all! The tooth fairy was quite confused and put her tooth money under Miekka's pillow and not hers! Silly fairy, Miekka was sleeping in Evelyn's bed! Evelyn quite literally moved into my bedroom. Saturday she moved in blankets, stuffies, books, three changes of clothes, and even a store of snacks in case she felt peckish during the night.

Our week of devotionals and Come Follow Me lesson was centered on the 12 Apostles. Tuesday for devotional we talked about people in our lives who made hard choices to join the gospel (how sometimes the gospel can be a sword and not peaceful). Miekka told stories about her Grandpa and Mom coming over from Holland. Everett asked if they came over on the Mayflower! Ha ha ha ha! We told stories about Grandma and Grandpa Baerwaldt and Anson Call as well.

Tuesday the girls enjoyed some time at the mall checking out Claire's, Disney Store, and Build a Bear. It was still drizzling but that did not stop the fun. Josie was quite taken with the princess crowns and fairy wands! I was anticipating a major tantrum but the older girls took so long choosing what they wanted to waste their money on she grew tired of the objects. Miekka and I threw away more money on cookies at Crumbl, a new cookie joint started in Utah. Huge, massive cookies in so many flavors. My favorite was the biscotti cookie. Fun times. Amelia and Lia babysat the younger kids while the older peoples went to watch Captain Marvel.

Wednesday the weather was partly cloudy, windy (yes, not breezy), and cool. It was nice enough that we made the kids go hiking to Lost Dutchman. The amount of whining was impressive but the parental figures were not deterred. Josie perched on my back for the hike up and on Justin's for the hike down. I could not believe the green landscape and blooming foliage as compared to when we hiked there in December, paired with the pretty clouds and blue sky...goodness, gorgeous vistas. Amelia took charge of my camera for a while. We made it halfway up the hill before we turned back. Josie took a short snooze on the hike back. Evelyn stayed with her best friend Miekka. She even conned Miekka into holding her purple purse! Not really, Miekka was being the nice aunt and asked to carry it. On the way back I had Justin stop at a rock store, I had a sudden hankering to crack open some geodes! I love spur of the moment excitement! Makes me feel giddy. Phillip and Everett accompanied me down to the store, we each picked a geode from a large bin. We paid by weight for the rocks. My geode has a pretty pink strip across the surface. We introduced the Lances to Gyros, they chickened out and ordered burgers or sandwiches. The rest of us enjoyed our gyros. At home we took turns cracking open the geodes. Phillip's had the most crystals and color variation. Everett's was quite dark and really set off the crystals, he had a streak of pink in his as well. My geode was the hardest to crack...probably because it was completely solid. After researching, turns out the pink strips indicate a solid (younger) geode! Miekka decided to extend their visit a couple days...had to experience some of our amazing weather.

Thursday we opted to tour Tuzigoot. The drive up was slow due to an accident. We relished the long moments to admire all the wild flowers sprouting up along the freeway medians. Amelia got quite carsick in the Lances van. The kids (except Mia) completed their Junior Ranger programs. Josie and Evelyn lucked out with a simple 6 item checklist! Tuzigoot is a site showcasing a 110 room pueblo perched on the spine of a ridge. A small museum contains many artifacts discovered while excavating the pueblo. We got to hear a tour guide tell his stories as we walked about the Pueblo. We had pizza dinner at Costco. It was Pi day after all! Not to outdo the pizza we got a couple pies for dessert! No better way to celebrate Pi day than with pizza pie and dessert pie.

Friday we headed to Riverside park for a morning of fun in the sun. The crazy Calls just had to enjoy the splash pad. It was not terrible warm especially with that nice breeze. Still undeterred the kids all got quite soaked...and loved every moment. Evelyn rode her balance bike through the spray! Josie was by far the silliest, she reminded me of a little robin hopping about in the rain. She was content to dry off after her lips turned blue. Seth and Jacob followed her about the park. The last time we visited that park half of it was under construction, thankfully the park was completely open! I really wanted to introduce the Lances to Sonoran hotdogs at our favorite Mexican haunt. They weren't terribly impressed with the cheap hot dogs. Bummer. Miekka and I fit in a fun afternoon thrifting at several stores close by. I totally lucked out at Goodwill with summer dresses, blankets, and books. Dinner was a fun affair outside around the fire pit. We roasted hot dogs for dinner and enjoyed S'mores for dessert. YUM! Vader was quite excited with all the food we had down at his level. After clean up we enjoyed several games at the dinner table, Sushi Go!, Slamwich, and Yahtzee. Things got a bit rowdy during Slamwich. That game is fast and loud.

As a last hoorah we had a picnic lunch at Riparian with cousins. Talk about a gorgeous day! Perfect weather. Bee Bop (aka Jacob) and Sesie (Seth) are by far Josie's favorite people, at least this week. She had those boys following her every whim...either that or the boys were bored. Miekka and Lia made matching t-shirts for Amelia and Lia. The girls looked darling together! The rest of our Saturday was quite boring, missing family and wanting more. 

Sunday was St Patrick's Day. The boys woke up at 7 am to rush about all the rooms exclaiming over what items they thought the Leprechauns had moved during the night. "Everett! I think the Leprechauns put my shoes in the strangest place! (laughter)" Soon all the younger kids were laughing about silly things the Leprechauns may or may not have arranged. Any day to wear green is my favorite day! Josie's hair is finally long enough for a ballet bun. I put dangling earrings in her ears just for kicks and giggles. She made us all smile with her cute preening as she admired her bun and ears. After church we came home to find the leprechauns had visited for real! The little stinkers turned our milk green, left green footprints and green color on the potty, tied up their animals, and perched kermit on the ceiling fan! For dinner we had corned beef, roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, and a half-baked soda bread. My oven turns baking into guess work, I can never bake anything correctly...either over or under done in a matter of minutes. We enjoyed the bread crust! Ha ha ha. Grandpa and Grandma Call sent a box of European candy and chocolate they scored while visiting Germany and France with Melissa. We LOVED the gummy pigs, those were amazing. Justin manned the spinner during a rousing game of "The Floor is Lava" after dinner. We have quite a few fun games in our closet right now. The cousins hated Life so that game was not played. Right around bedtime I got a message from a former mission companion. She was visiting Gilbert to see her mother. Within 10 minutes she was at my house with another one of my companions! I was thrilled to visit with Amy (who lives 10 minutes away) and Tiffany! We had so many stories to swap in the hour we had available. My heart was overfilled with joy! I love those two gals more than cake. Amelia missed their visit, she was overtired after a week of cousins and sleeping on the couch so went to bed early.

10 March 2019

Science Camp, Phillip's Performance

I am so happy to report that we completed our Spring Cleaning. I am grateful for the kick in the buns to finally get this done. The prospect of visiting family got me into gear. I did not have Gabi Tuesday or Thursday so that helped out. Each day this week I focused on a problem area and attacked!!! Tuesday I finished cleaning the kitchen cabinets. Wednesday I cleaned our bathroom upstairs and our bedroom. There just aren't words to express how thrilled I am to have a clean bedroom. It was not dirty, just cluttered. Justin cleared off his precious collection of receipts and his clutter. Makes my heart happy. Thursday I worked on the pantry, reorganizing cans and shuffling stuff back and forth to better locations. Friday we worked on bedrooms and got the entire upstairs spit spot clean. I donated a trunk load of stuff, including the crib and bedding. That was quite a tender experience. I got that crib before Amelia was born and each child spent at least 18 months in that crib. We closed the baby chapter of our family. Sad day for me, I'd have 10 more just because, babies hold a special spot in my heart. Josie was quite disturbed watching her crib and precious crib light go to DI, she is not completely sold that her toddler bed and chicky nightlight are good substitutes. Once Justin got home we cleaned like a well-oiled machine. Soon the downstairs looked fantastic. Saturday we had time to get all the cars washed and cleaned, came home with 5 balloons just because. I mopped the floors and finished up the kitchen. I even had time to swap out our old family photos for new ones! There is something amazing about wiping fingerprints off walls, mirrors, and doors; dusting off ceiling fans; washing light fixtures; etc. Our spaces seem lighter and brighter. Now...if only I could maintain. I feel like the world's worst housekeeper. I know that is irrational since I've seen the insides of truly disgusting domiciles, but the feeling persists. My favorite find this week was discounted kid plates, bowls, and cups at Target. I finally replaced all the chipped, melted, warped, and leaking kid dishes for just $10, 24 new cups, bowls, and plates! Yippee! I call cleaning out the closets and cabinets, cleaning out the whited sepulchers....ha ha ha.

Josie is determined she'll be a ballerina this year. She wears her tutu and slippers as often as possible, either that or her Elsa PJs. We are going strong on the Scarlet Pimpernel kick. Evelyn's favorite song is Madam Guillotine, aka slice ka-dara-dice (slice, come paradise). We plan on watching the 1980s movie version that the most recent play we saw was based on. It was quite balmy on Tuesday after-school. The boys made a mud pit with the hose, slide, and the grass. Josie got quite excited about the water, she stripped off her clothes to properly get wet. She reminded me of a little bird enjoying a spring rain, ruffling feathers and splashing about. The boys got quite chilled after playing for an hour in the chilly hose water.

The kids had a fun week at school celebrating Dr Suess' birthday. The school organized a themed week, like dress up in green (Green Eggs and Ham), favorite team day, wear wacky clothes, "pop"sicles for Hop on Pop, and Cat in the Hat day. Everett and Evelyn really got into the wacky clothes on Wednesday. I cannot unsee Everett wearing swim shorts worn inside out and backwards. He buttoned his Sunday shirt like he normally does (before I help him). Oh the laughs coming from those two while getting dressed was pure magic. Evelyn lived all week for Hop on Pop day. That otter pop at lunch tasted the best. She was thrilled her dress on Thursday matched Mrs Norton's book.

Wednesday Amelia left around 9 am for Science Camp up at Prescott Pines for a couple days. This was a new experience for us all, sending a kid off to camp alone. She did great just as expected. She packed up by herself with minimal assistance (she needed me to find a duffel, and I checked her bags). These words are from Amelia: When we arrived we got our stuff and headed to the Chapel for orientation. Then we had lunch and headed to the cabins to put on warmer clothes and headed out to Goldwater Lake. (I was with Ruby, Priscilla, and Zoey) At the lake, we filled out our journals and played in the snow. Then we went back to the cabins and warmed up. Then we headed to the chapel and then dinner. After dinner we went to go grab our extra jackets and went to Minute-To-Win-It, then dodge ball, then to the snack bar to grab a quick treat (Hershey bar and Sour Patch), and then had a Hay Ride. After the Hay Ride, we went back for some more dodge ball against the Bears, and then headed back to the cabins. The showers were CHAOS. Everyone was yelling for others to get out so nobody actually washed their hair. Then we tried to sleep, but all of the other rooms were so loud, and nobody slept all night. Plus there was a light on and felt cold all night. The next morning we got up and dressed, and then headed to breakfast. After breakfast we went outside to play Gaga Ball. After playing for 10 minutes, we headed to the chapel. Once there we set off to dissect owl pellets. Afterwards, we headed to the gym for ELIMINATOR!!!!!! Eliminator is pretty much the parents/teachers shooting students with tennis balls while they go through an obstacle course. After we headed to lunch, we went to the Speed Line, and then made ice cream. After wards we went to the far side of camp past the Speed Line to do Survival. (building huts and a fire) Then we went to the cabins to take off our layers. Then, after dinner we went to the chapel to practice our skits. After practicing for a half our, we presented them. Afterwards we grabbed our layers and flashlights and headed to the campfire. There we told spooky stories, roasted marshmallows, and sang Disney songs. Then we headed back to the cabins to pack up and shower. This time we waited till everyone was done AND until the water was warm. That night we all kept hearing fart noises and somebody snoring. The next morning we had breakfast, said goodbye, and went home. The End. 

Phillip missed the bus Thursday morning. He decided his pants weren't right so changed right when we left for the bus. Phillip got to wear his Scout uniform for his 3rd grade performance. The theme was "It's An Amazing World!" The kids could wear a costume from their favorite culture including scout uniforms. He had to change his pants to jeans with belt loops for his belt. He had to ride his bike to school, our family consequence for missing the bus. He was so anxious about riding alone that I followed him home. He forgot and took the bus home, leaving his bike at school. That night he had nightmares about riding his bike home alone from school. He was close to having a panic attack, I arranged to follow him home from school in the van. I hope he does not miss the bus again, or gains confidence to ride alone. Baby steps. After school we made a quick trip to the library then Target (again). I wanted to get one more set of bowls and the boys needed a gift for Ryan's birthday. We were running close to the wire with unexpected traffic, only had 10 minutes to wolf down healthy Mcdonald's for dinner before Phillip went to his evening performance. He did so great! I loved hearing his voice singing his favorite song: May the Sun Shine Forever (Russia). The folks behind us complained each time I tried to take a photo or record the song on my phone. Before the kids even started I could hear the lady say, "that lady is blocking my view and I can tell will just be annoying!" Geepers. I tried to move but the gym was packed. Even keeping my elbows in, and phone lower than my head those two still complained. I didn't even take photos since my view was also blocked. It is what it is!

I picked up Amelia at noon on Friday. We grabbed a special treat to kick off Spring Break between noon and 12:30. We followed Phillip home while he slowly biked/walked his bike. Everett and Evelyn were sadly waiting at home trying to get inside. Everett could not remember the correct garage code. Amelia gladly took a 2 hour nap right after lunch. She was pretty grouchy after two nights with little sleep.

The rest of our weekend was spent cleaning as outlined above. The Lances arrived after 8:30 pm after a long drive. They left Friday in the middle of snow storms and treacherous roads. I hear the roads were white-knuckle driving. We are so glad they made it here in one piece. They stopped to see Montezuma's Castle and Well. Evelyn asked for updates every few minutes for the entire weekend. That felt exhausting, ha. Evelyn moved her stuff into our room, a complete week's worth of clothes, bedding, books, stuffed animals, and snacks! I think she was excited to get a free ticket to sleep on our floor for a few days. James flew back to Utah this afternoon. We get to keep the rest of the Lances for a few more days.

04 March 2019

Games, Games, Games

The weather invited lots of outdoor play this week. It is gorgeous outside. The time of year we live for around these parts. The kids had the cutest game going on this week out in Justin's truck. From what I could ascertain the game included ordering, food, music, and such. The kids even chose to play outside on Friday instead of watching a movie! Jacob was over as often as possible. Seems our house is turning into a kid magnet. Monday and Thursday afternoons we have 4-7 extra kids roaming about. I love it! Everett decided the game of LIFE was the newest best thing in his world. I got the game and the kids have played it almost everyday this past week. Evelyn did not want Isla to come over, said she was way too bossy to be a friend. Ha ha ha, I think Evelyn was talking about herself at the same time. The girls had a much better play date this week. She even gave Isla a unicorn B-Eh-F necklace! So sweet. They really do play together well in spite of their quarrels. I often have flashbacks of Amelia and Ella's early tumultuous friendship.

Justin was sick on Monday. Since Gabi was coming over I had to stay clear of our house, we ran errands for a couple hours to DI and Winco. I've had several requests for Gyros, Winco is the only place that carries gyro meat, it's delicious! Gabi's family got really sick in spite of our efforts to stay away. They all came down with the stomach flu and coughs. Gabi came again on Thursday. She is crawling all over the place now.

We enjoyed a fun evening for the Blue and Gold banquet on Tuesday. Phillip earned a new belt loop award. I have not purchased any of his new belt loops since the church announced it would not cover the costs and separation from the program. The kids loved racing about the picnic ramada for a couple hours. Josie fell asleep quickly that night. Justin had a followup appointment regarding a test he took last year called a Qb test. It tests ADD and ADHD in adults and kids. The test measures 4 categories. You have to score outside the normal range on 2 of the 4 tests to be officially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. He only scored outside the normal range in one category (inattentiveness) but was in the 99th percentile in that category. His provider believes he likely learned to manage some of the other behaviors. He feels rather vindicated with the results! ADD can lead to anxiety and other issues that he deals with on a daily basis. I am pretty sure (99%) that Evelyn also struggles with ADD. 

I felt rather accomplished that I fixed a sagging shelf on the cupboard that holds canned goods. All the weight ripped off the tiny support (a tiny screw) a few months ago. I measured (correctly) and cut a board to the correct height. Slipped that new board right in and solved the sag. Since the cupboard was mostly empty I took the chance to organize the cans and my kitchen pantry. The pantry storage is quite vast. The problem is the storage is deep, a natural consequence is all the unused items get shoved to the back and forgotten. I still have not come up with a solution. Ideas? While I organized the shelves the rest of the house went to pot. I am about to the point of walking around my house with huge garbage bags and solving the clutter problem. If someone wants an item back then they can "find" it. Put it away or it gets bagged. I love my idea so much I bought huge black garbage bags this week. YES!

We are all praying for my grandma Baerwaldt. She was in the ER and intensive care for sepsis. She was moved off the regular care and put into the hospice program. Basically instead of trying to cure her ailments now her pain will be managed so she can naturally pass away. I pray she will pass quicker than her predicted year. She is in so much pain and hates life. I prayed on Friday that Grandma could pass to heaven and be reunited with Grandpa. After the prayer all the kids were crying! They thought I wanted Grandma to die. I do, but just because I hate to see her suffer. I cannot wait for her to get her health and vitality back. We are planning a trip to Utah for Easter this year, I hope we can all say goodbye, hope she can hang on until then. She's lived a long and productive life. I love her for her life of goodness and love.

Saturday the kids decided to set up a Lemonade stand. They brought in $14 in just 90 minutes. Everett almost got hit by a car crossing the street on his bike after taping up signs around the oval. He thinks cars can see him. We had quite a serious discussion about bike safety again and again. Business was quite scarce, they gave up after 90 minutes. The only reason they earned $14 was a truck load of construction workers stopped and bought out their stock! They were quite pleased. The kids amused themselves with a can of whipped cream and pie face. The faces Amelia pulled are hilarious. She was the winner. Jacob Godard agreed to babysit Evelyn and Josie from 2:30-5:30 while the rest of us went to see the Scarlet Pimpernel. He is such a dependable boy, actually plays with the girls. From what he reported they had a great time watching a movie and playing. We arrived home to find the girls and Jacob waiting for us in the truck bed waving dolls and wreathed with smiles. The Van Holten girls were in the Scarlet Pimpernel (think the 1980s movie version). The theater is geared towards kids ages 10-18, no adults. I was so impressed. Everett was hopping with laughter over the fight scene and the sword fighting! Hooray for a spot of culture.

**I love how Josie says licking: lipping. Mom! I'm lipping you like a dog!